Valentino Rossi: 2016 MotoGP changes had smaller impact than feared

Yamaha's Valentino Rossi says the impact of MotoGP's new-for-2016 tyres and control electronics on bike set-up has been smaller than he anticipated

Valentino Rossi: 2016 MotoGP changes had smaller impact than feared

In a dual change, Michelin returned to replace Bridgestone as MotoGP's tyre supplier, while factory-developed ECUs were dropped in favour of a spec Magneti Marelli unit.

Tyres have remained a talking point, but Rossi says they are not shaping how Yamaha sets up his 2015-based M1, and that the affect of the electronics - initially dubbed a "step backwards" - has also been smaller.

"We tested three or four times with the Michelin tyres last year and this gave us a lot of worries because we were slow, we crashed, we didn't have feeling with the front," he said.

"Yamaha worked to develop a [new] bike that is quite different compared to the year before with the Bridgestone, with the different weight distribution and the [fuel] tank on the rear.

"But the Michelin tyres improved a lot, especially the front and at the end, essentially we are using a very similar set-up compared to Bridgestone, and this is good.

"With the electronics, we expected a big revolution, a big step back, but at the end it was a half-step back.

"The bike that I am using now is very similar to last year."

TITLE POSITION 'DIFFICULT'

Rossi has been more competitive throughout the first half of the season than he was in 2015, but entered the summer break 59 points behind championship leader Marc Marquez.

His two victories at Jerez and Barcelona have been offset by crashes at Austin and Assen, an engine failure at Mugello and a Sachsenring strategy that dropped him from the lead pack to finish eighth.

"I think it's very difficult," he said.

"In these first nine races, I don't take the amount of points that I could, because I made some mistakes.

"So the distance to Marquez is very, very high.

"We have another half a championship, nine races is very long time to work well and try to be competitive and try to make the maximum, and after we will see."

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